KCMO - Wet Specimen Workshop @ Oracle Natural Science


KCMO - Wet Specimen Workshop @ Oracle Natural Science


Sign up for a specimen preservation class with absolutely no experience necessary — learn all about the history of wet specimens and the practical applications in modern science, and finish by preserving your own specimens to museum standards. This class is limited to only eight students. Read more below!

The next wet specimen workshop in Kansas City is taking place on Sunday, March 3rd from 11 am to noon.

Inclement weather date: Sunday, March 10th from 11 am to noon.

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THIS CLASS IS NOT SUITABLE FOR ANYONE WHO IS PREGNANT - NO EXCEPTIONS. I’m so sorry, but the chemicals we use are not safe for pregnancy!

What will students learn?

Starting with a lecture and history lesson on the origins of fluid-preserved specimens, we will journey to modern-day science and discuss how museums care for their collections that span hundreds of years. The class will be capped with a hands-on activity where each student will receive one bird AND one mammal to preserve. Adhering to OSHA guidelines, each student will learn how to carefully embalm, pose, and preserve their specimens. These skills can also be applied to preserve all types of specimens: invertebrates (like insects and even octopi) as well as vertebrates, which include birds and mammals in addition to reptiles, amphibians, and fish.

All specimens are legal to possess and were sustainably sourced, meaning their deaths were not detrimental to the environment. Specimens for embalming practice are unsuitable for taxidermy mounting (they may be missing a few toes) but rather than being thrown out out, they will be used for educational purposes. Through this practice, every animal gets a second life.

About the class:
All specimens are sustainably sourced. Workshops are taught by award-winning licensed taxidermist Mickey Alice Kwapis.

What do students leave with? 
Each student will leave with two embalmed specimens. When you get home, there will be a three-week period where you will check on your specimen every few days and you will need to transfer it to new solution after three weeks. Don’t sweat it, though - everyone will get very clear instructions on exactly what to do. Students get to keep all tools and equipment in addition to their specimens - you will receive embalming tools and reusable chemicals for future wet specimen projects, and lots of knowledge to go alongside your own finished specimens.

What is the cost?
Tuition is $100, which includes instruction, supplies, and specimens to keep as well as aftercare instructions.

What do I need to bring?
Please prepare for the class by wearing closed-toed shoes and comfortable clothes that you don't mind getting dirty. If you have ANY animal allergies please prepare by taking allergy medication, as you may be allergic to your specimen. Short fingernails are recommended. Keep in mind that if you choose to have long nails, it is more likely that you will ruin your specimen(s). Bring a bag or box to carry your supplies and finished specimens home in. Please do not bring food or drink unless it is required for a medical condition, which must be consumed outside of the class area due to safety hazards.

Other information: 
This class will be taking place at Oracle Natural Science in Kansas City, Missouri. The address is 130 West 18th Street. Ample street parking is available free of charge. The week prior to the class date, the address and any other pertinent information will be emailed to the address you provide. The class will last approximately four hours but students may finish early.

All ages are welcome to participate in these classes. Students under twelve must be accompanied by a calm adult that can assist where needed. Students with special needs are also welcome - just let me know beforehand if you are planning to sign a minor up for the class and/or if special accommodations are required.

To sign up and reserve your spot, please follow these instructions:

  • Add your desired class to your cart.

  • Fill out the form that pops up. You will need to provide a name, email address, and phone number.

  • Each student needs to have a separate form filled out. If you are giving a ticket to the class as a gift, please provide the student’s information rather that your own.

  • When you are finished adding the desired tickets to your cart, proceed to checkout and pay your class fee of $100 per ticket. Your registration is not complete and your spot is not reserved until you have submitted a payment.

Terms and conditions:
Tuition is nonrefundable unless the class gets cancelled by the teacher. If you make a payment but find you can no longer attend the class, you may forfeit your payment or transfer it to another person if you desire. Please notify me of any transfers or ask any questions you may have by emailing hello@mickeyalicekwapis.com. Late arrivals to class (more than ten minutes) are not permitted out of courtesy to the other students who have arrived on time. Thank you for your punctuality.